I’m weird. I have no problem with eating soup in July. I love a bowl of chili for dinner during the summer. Of course I look forward to lighter, cooler entrees, like a salad with grilled chicken, quinoa with peaches, or veggies from my garden to dip in baba ganoush. I can’t eat that way every day, no matter what the temperature is outside. Granted, I live in San Diego, so how hot does it really get? However, if the temperature is rising, I still crave hot stuff. Even if I have a nice cool grain salad, I’m still covering it with sriracha. I can’t get away from a little heat!
The other week, I realized I had some chorizo in the freezer that needed to be consumed. What else could I do but make a big pot of chorizo chili?? I used my go-to recipe for chili that I found on Cooking Light‘s website (http://www.cookinglight.com/ ) back in 2003. 2003? Yikes! The great thing about chili recipes is that you can substitute anything for what you might have in the cupboard or refrigerator!!
6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage (I used chorizo with the casings removed.)
2 cups chopped onion (I prefer red onions or Vidalia onions.)
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground sirloin (I used ground turkey breast. It’s summer, so it’s lighter! haha)
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped (I usually use a Serrano pepper.)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/4 cups Merlot or other fruity red wine (Honestly, I use whichever red wine I feel like having a glass of later that night.)
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained (I use whatever beans I have in the cupboard. It’s all good! Cannellini is always a favorite. I like to put two different types of beans in this chili.)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.
2. Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese.
And as Cooking Light notes, and as everyone knows, chili always tastes better the next day!
And what goes better with chili than hot dogs? Now that is a food item I associate with summertime 100%! My husband and I checked out Daddy’s Hot Dogs (http://www.daddyshotdogs.com/) on University Avenue in Hillcrest over the weekend. William, the owner and possibly the only person who officially works there, gave us his recommendations and a couple other words of advice (He’s a talker!).
He was in the process of tasting a hotdog when we approached. He went right into explaining that he was sampling a new idea and was playing around with different possible names for it. Once we ordered, Franz went with the classic “Manhattan“, a hot dog topped with grilled onions, deli mustard and sauerkraut. I chose the “Diego Dog“, a dog topped with grilled onions, jalapeno relish, and Russian dressing. Everything is made to order, so the hot dogs come out super fresh and hot (unlike at Petco Park where Franz once returned a hot dog. He’s a legend in my eyes.). The hot dog is split and then grilled, so you get an all over tasty grilled flavor. It reminded me of when I was a kid and made fried bologna sandwiches. I would make the small cut in the bologna so it wouldn’t curl, and it seemed like the butter I put in the pan had a better opportunity to cover every inch of the bologna. I would put a slice of Kraft American cheese on the bologna & put a lid on the pan. It would only take a minute for the cheese to melt. And, viola, I had the perfect after school snack on white bread ever made! Sometimes, if we had them in the house, I’d put tomatoes on it. Don’t think about the health factor. Just let it go.
As we were enjoying our hot dogs, William told us about his being an ex-cop with the Feds and having a culinary background, which I thought was an interesting mix. It’s easy to see he is very passionate about his food and kids – and the two things work together in a way. He explained that he wouldn’t serve anything to a customer that he wouldn’t feed his children. He sought out a leaner and healthier quality of hot dog which comes from the L.A. area. If he can’t get a shipment of his dogs, and his shop runs out, he’ll have to close early that day, he explained. As I took a picture of his hours, he was quick to point out that the posted hours are flexible and can change at any given moment.
But how did the dogs taste? I really enjoyed mine! The bun was soft and cradled the little dog perfectly. I will say little because it’s small. For lunch, I would probably have 2 or 3 and feel full. Franz said he would need about 10, but he eats a lot. The jalapeno relish had just the right amount of heat. William told me that his kids have to be able to eat everything, so it can’t be so hot that you need a gallon of milk to cool the taste buds. The Russian dressing was a nice touch, and it went well with the relish. When we arrived, William had been sampling the Diego Dog topped with sauerkraut. I think that’s the way to go next time! Franz thought his was a good standard hot dog. He did go with a classic, but he said he might have preferred one of the other ones listed. I was eyeing the Reuben Dog: corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese and Russian Dressing. Yum!
Given the location, I think this is a great place to stop when you are frequenting the bar establishments on University Avenue. It only has outdoor bar tables, no seats, and it’s cash only (hot dogs are $3-$6 each). So it’s easy to stop at the window, place your order, have a couple of dogs, and continue on your way. While we were eating, William came out and stood at a table and told us about his philosophy on food. I would highly recommend stopping by and chatting with him. Check out his website, too. You really get a sense of his love of food and family.
Check out this video: Daddy’s Hot Dogs
Take Care and Happy Eating!